NEW YORK — Nearly one year to the day since the release of her brooding Rated R, Rihanna has softened her hard edges and surrendered the warrior pose for a relaxed island twirl. Her Loud album, released Tuesday, has already launched two songs into the Billboard Hot 100: "What's My Name?" is clutching the top spot, while "Only Girl (In the World)" holds steady just three spots behind the Drake-assisted track at #4.
So on Wednesday morning (November 17), the Caribbean beauty decided to give fans a taste of what Barbados bliss sounds like, performing the hit singles during a one-two punch of a set on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Gathered specifically for this date on the show's fall concert series lineup, downtown boys in beanies and leather lace-up boots cradling copies of Loud shared the Times Square studio space with über-fans in fire-engine red wigs and a pack of gregarious tweens who'd traveled with their moms from as far as Scarsdale, New York. The Rihanna Navy is devoted — and diverse.
With her runway-ready crimson locks swinging across her shoulders, the pop star finally breezed onto a stage sprinkled with fall foliage and kicked off a pounding, guitar-heavy "Only Girl." She naughtily snarled her way through the bridge, singing, "Take me for a ride, ride/ Oh baby, take me high, high/ Let me make you first, first/ Oh, make it last all night, night."
When host Robin Roberts remarked between songs that the new album finds her revisiting her pop roots, Rih responded, "Definitely, as well as a lot of my West Indian roots as well."
That Caribbean coming-of-age is imprinted on the playful "What's My Name?" And the 22-year-old — looking fresh in a cropped polka-dot bustier, tribal-print blazer and lace-trimmed micro-mini — was all hips and winks as the exuberant morning crowd sang the 'oh-na-nas to her "What's my name?"
Before stopping to hold up a blue sweatshirt emblazoned with the words "Rihanna Navy" (courtesy of two bloggers who help run her popular Rihanna Daily fan site), the singer told the "GMA" audience she's doing what she loves and sees no reason to slow down.
"There's no rule that says you have to take a break," she smiled.
What did you think of Rihanna's "GMA" concert? Tell us in the comments!